Forum home Road cycling forum Tours, routes, audaxes & organised rides Tour & expedition

Cols de la Madeleine & du Glandon

davidofdavidof Posts: 2,385
edited October 2013 in Tour & expedition
Yesterday looked like being one of the last few warm days of the autumn, most of the Alpine cols are still open except the Iseran and Galibier so I decided to try cycling home via two HC cols, the Madeleine and the Glandon. I've not cycled the Glandon on the north side before but have heard of people reduced to tears on the final 3 km and I've not cycled two HC cols in a day, or at least not for a long long time.

To ease the pain and give me a head start I caught the train from Montmelian near Chambery to Notre dame de Briancon just at the foot of the Madeleine. This meant no warm up but in the freezing temperatures I'm not sure it would have done much good. My idea was to ride the first col with HR in the low 160s to ensure some reserve for the second col.

Zero traffic on both cols, a couple of cyclists heading in the other direction but really apart from la Chambre and the ride from Rochetaille back down to Grenoble there was no-one about. Almost spooky.

I started just before 9am and it was very cold, a bit of sun on the first hairpins then shadow till way past Celliers. The descent to la Chambre around 11am was glacial and even the valley was icy - no sign of the 20C forecast temperatures. I found a little corner to have lunch. Ride up the Glandon was largely in sun between 12-2pm. Yes the final kms are steep. Things were more acceptable temperature wise on the ride down to Riviers with a great blast down the Romanche valley to Grenoble and back up the Gresivaudan valley with a return to near summer and a glorius late afternoon.

Here's a video diary of the Madeleine side.


  • [jealous]

    Had a holiday in the area a few years ago and rode those cols. Wish I'd been there today.


    BTW, those public toilets in Riviere are the most disgusting thing I've ever seen and I've been on more rugby tours and stag do's than I care to remember.
  • davidofdavidof Posts: 2,385

    BTW, those public toilets in Riviere are the most disgusting thing I've ever seen and I've been on more rugby tours and stag do's than I care to remember.

    Funny you mention them, I did notice them on the road as I passed by but I wasn't tempted - probably the lair of French cottageurs.... talking of which, although not 100% related, saw this guy in Grenoble the other day ... qui-repond
  • mrc1mrc1 Posts: 852
    Great ride and I can certainly empathise with you regarding the sun/shade thing on climbs - makes clothing choice very tricky!

    Le Domestique Tours - Bespoke cycling experiences with unrivalled supported riding, knowledge and expertise.

    Ciocc Extro - FCN 1
  • crescentcrescent Posts: 1,088
    Nice video, takes me back to my trip earlier this year. I can almost feel the cold just watching it, I went in May and the sunshine is very deceptive.
    I imagine the run through the Romanche valley to Grenoble is petty much downhill all the way. I cycled back that way to Bourg d'Oisans after doing a 100km circuit over Col d'Ornon and Col de La Morte and it is quite a slog from Sechilienne to BdO, really takes its toll on tired legs. Quite an imposing place as well with the high, grey slabs of rock either side.
    Hoping to go back next year for some more, can't wait, just a spectacular place to cycle.
    Ribble Gran Fondo
    Bianchi Impulso
    BMC Teammachine

    “When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. “ ~H.G. Wells
    Edit - "Unless it's a BMX"
Sign In or Register to comment.